TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan and Afghanistan have inked a deal to extend a railway connecting the two countries, potentially giving landlocked Uzbekistan direct access to seaports, Voice of America reported Tuesday (December 5).
A short railway between Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif, both in Afghanistan, has connected the two points since 2011.
Among scores of deals signed by Uzbekistani President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Tuesday (December 5) in Tashkent, the two countries agreed to link Mazar-e-Sharif and the western Afghan city of Herat by rail, Mirziyoyev's office said in a statement.
Another link connecting Herat to Iran is already under construction, potentially allowing Uzbekistan to directly transport cargo to and from Iran's Persian Gulf ports.
No details about the cost and funding of the project were given.
With the 'Islamic State' on the verge of defeat, Kazakhstanis who joined the group are likely to begin returning home, where they will face anti-terrorism measures.
Popular support in Central Asia for Islamist insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond is waning.